ASPCA Commends Federal Lawmakers for Passing PAW

Issuing legislation that comes along with National Preparedness Month The legislation will direct government agencies to include pets in disaster planning

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) commended the US House of Representatives for passing the Animal Health Planning Act (PAW), HR7789/S.4205, for strengthening collaborative relationships between government agencies and outside experts for the application of pets in disaster planning (i.e. preparedness, response, and recovery efforts).

According to a regulatory statement,1 The legislation was sponsored by Representatives Dina Titus (Nevada), Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon), Senators Gary Peters (D-Michigan), and Rob Portman (R-Ohio). He will urge the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to establish a working group of experts to review current best practices for animals in emergencies and natural disasters and, if necessary, issue new guidance. In August, the Senate unanimously passed the PAW Act, and as it passes through the House, it will now go to President Biden’s office for his signature.

Matt Bershaker, president and CEO of ASPCA, said in the release.

“We are grateful to Representatives Titus and DeFazio, as well as Senators Peters and Portman, for supporting this legislation to create a FEMA-led working group to create best practices for animal assistance in disaster situations, and we look forward to continuing our collaborative work to save and protect these vulnerable animals.”

“As a proud dog owner, it’s a point that animal and veterinary needs are often overlooked during disasters. I am pleased that this bipartisan legislation passed the House because it would require FEMA to establish a working group with outside experts to review existing federal guidance on animals in disaster preparedness and response. them and recover from them to ensure they are consistent with current best practices,” Senator Portman said. “This bill will help ensure Ohio families and other animal owners have up-to-date disaster preparedness guidelines.”1

According to the 2021 ASPCA Poll,2 83% of pet parents report that they live in a community facing natural disasters. Oftentimes, a lack of emergency resources can force people to make the heartbreaking decision between evacuating or sheltering in a place to stay with their animals. The PAW Act will help ensure that pets, captive animals, and service animals are considered in disaster planning and emergency response, so families don’t have to make that choice.

Since the founding of the ASPCA Disaster Response Team in 2010, the ASPCA has responded to more than 65 disasters, helping nearly 120,000 animals in affected communities. During the series of hurricanes in 2017, including Harvey, Irma and Maria, the ASPCA assisted nearly 36,000 animals across Texas, Florida, South Carolina, and St. Croix with evacuations, search and rescue, emergency shelters, and pet food and supplies distribution.1 In addition, the ASPCA collaborates with local agencies nationwide to help improve animal response capabilities through grants and training opportunities.


  1. The ASPCA commends federal lawmakers for passing legislation to protect disaster-affected animals during National Preparedness Month. New release. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. September 15, 2022. Accessed September 16, 2022. disasters – during-the-national-month–301625748.html
  2. A new ASPCA survey shows that 83 percent of pet owners live in an area affected by disasters, yet less than half have a preparedness plan in place. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. September 13, 2021. Accessed September 15, 2022. impacted

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